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‘Black Hammer Giant-Sized Annual:’ Advance Comic Book Review

The fact that Jeff Lemire’s Black Hammer has an annual when most Dark Horse comics don’t shows just how fully committed he is to his superhero-driven world which pays homage to Golden Age comics, while turning the idea of what a superhero is later in life on its head. This world is almost analogous to what it’s like for an older ballet dancer or football player. In your prime, you were amazing. As you age, once all of those beatings your body has taken set in, you just don’t work as well. In Black Hammer, for this group of aging superheroes trapped on a strange farm, it’s both physical and psychological scars they have to deal with.

The annual brings on board a fun selection of artists to draw different sections of the book. The approach fits naturally with the story, which is about a weird eyeball-like creature with tentacles that travels through the Para-Zone, where only the half-crazed Colonel Weird can go and survive, though being in this place with no rules is what has driven him mad. He follows this creature through the Para-Zone as it comes into contact with the younger versions of each of the characters on the farm. A different artist takes on each confrontation, bringing to life a different Golden Age era to really enjoyable effect.

Like the ongoing series, the annual has a sense of melancholy and of being lost, but lacks the focused emotional bite. It feels a bit like a really good Twilight Zone episode. The interesting thing is how this creature connected the characters before they ended up together on the farm, so it may pop up in the ongoing. You get little extra peeks into who the characters were and how they felt about each other. All in all, it’s a nice addition to the ongoing series.

Nate Powell does a great job illustrating all of the current-day segments. Matt Kindt and Sharlene Kindt offer their talent, as do Dustin Nguyen, Ray Fawkes, Emi Lenox, and Michael Allred, with Dave Stewart doing most of the coloring (except for Kindt and Fawkes). So, it’s a collection of really great art. If you’re not following the series, you should be – it’s quite brilliant, which means you should also pick this up. If you just pick this up without having read the series, I’m not sure how much you’d get out of it.

Phillip Kelly, Fanbase Press Contributor



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